Jake Peavy (SP - CHW) - Peavy had his roughest outing of the season, allowing six runs on nine hits (two home runs) in 5 1/3 innings against the Tigers, walking two while fanning four. He carried a shutout through five, but proceeded to melt down in the sixth. He is likely headed for a regression as he entered the start with a .234 BABIP and just two home runs surrendered despite a very low 28.7 GB%. Peavy has also averaged only 124 innings a year for the last four seasons as he has been hurt every year, and U.S. Cellular Field is not the optimal spot for a heavy fly ball pitcher. Worth selling high on if you can find a buyer, Peavy takes on the Cubs at Wrigley on Sunday.
Ervin Santana (SP - LAA) - Santana was outstanding against the A's, throwing 7 2/3 shutout innings while allowing only four hits, walking three and punching out nine. After only fanning 19 in his first 30 2/3 innings, he has now struck out 20 in the last 23. Most importantly, he did not allow a home run tonight after giving up at least one in six of his first seven outings and 12 in 46 innings before tonight. Santana traditionally gives up his fair share of dingers, but obviously this many so far is an aberration, especially when he's increased his groundball rate 4.5%, which is on the heels of an 8.3% rise last year. Buy low while you can before he regresses to career norms. He has an excellent matchup in San Diego Sunday.
Fernando Rodney (RP - TB) - Rodney pitched a perfect ninth for his 11th save and his ERA now stands at a sparkling 0.51. His control has been miles better than his career average and he's increased his strikeout rate five percent to go along with his traditionally excellent groundball rate. Although we are still dealing with smaller sample sizes, his peripherals have been outstanding and he's pitching in front of an excellent defense. The Rays have also gotten career years out of otherwise-mediocre relievers Grant Balfour, Joaquin Benoit and Kyle Farnsworth among others, so it's possible they've found something in Rodney that other teams could not.
Yunel Escobar (SS - TOR) - Escobar took another collar in four at bats, and he's now hitting a meek .242/.291/.307. He has always hit an above-average number of groundballs, but he's taken it to another level this year as they've comprised 65.9% of his balls in play coming into the night. The increased rate has naturally come at the expense of line drives and fly balls, and he should especially be putting more balls in the air at the Rogers Centre. He still should be considered a plus option at home and against left-handed pitching, but the indicators so far are worrisome.
Mike Moustakas (3B - KC) - Moustakas hit his fifth home run of the season as part of a 1-2 night with a walk and hit by pitch to raise his season line to .310/.371/.540. The hot start is certainly encouraging, but it doesn't look sustainable when you look at his peripherals. He carried a .345 BABIP into the night despite only a 14.3 LD%, and he has been chasing more pitches out of the strike zone compared to his call-up last season. He's a good option against right-handed pitching, but has been very lucky against southpaws this year (which was his weakness coming up through the minors and last year) and plays in a very tough park for left-handed home runs. Sell high if you can.
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